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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 23566
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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There was an incident last week in front of the building I

Customer Question

There was an incident last week in front of the building I am temporarily living in at the moment. The investigators have been around for a few days and today they approached me asking me to come down to the station and give a statement. They saw the person involved in the crime hanging out with me (and a bunch of other people around) on video. They have said that they saw the person take out a gun from a BBQ while I was standing there. I did not see the gun at all. I was hanging out with this person and eventually walked away as I was on the phone having a smoke, a fight broke out, which I couldn't see too well because I was intoxicated plus I wear glasses. When they were here they did not take any notes or ask me for my name, age, etc. I basically said that I did not see anything and that I have no idea whats going on. They then said that don't I know what the person involved does for a living, I explained I don't because I actually have no idea. I hung out with people downstairs a few times since I've been here for the past 2 weeks, a lot of people hang out down there at night. I told them that the person was just simply hitting on me which is the truth. The investigators also asked me if I know where that person is I said no because I don't, they then said "oh we do" and another one said don't tell him we were here. They were a little bit passive aggressive and confusing and in my opinion were trying to scare me. When they asked me to come down to the station I explained that I cant today they gave me their card and asked to call them tomorrow. I am not sure what to do in this situation, can you please advise?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

Hello,

One of the cardinal rules of criminal law is that you NEVER speak to the authorities unless you have a lawyer with you. Anything you say to these detectives about the incident you were involved with, even things you think can't possibly hurt you, can be turned around and used against you at a later point. Your statements/admissions can also give the police probable cause for a search warrant or for your arrest and the filing of charges.

Generally, when the police want you to come in and talk, it's because they don't have enough information to arrest you, but they are hoping to get it from you. Under circumstances like this, you have a Constitutional right to remain silent. Exercising that right can't ever be used against you. But if you choose to talk to the police, every word you say may get you closer and closer to being in trouble.

You just don't know because you're talking to them in a vacuum and don't know what/all they are really looking for. They don't have to tell you and they don't have to be up front with you. It may be that you're not in trouble, but you're certainly of interest to them, which means they likely don't believe what you've told them in the first place, and that doesn't rule trouble out.

Don't call the police back. If they call you tell them that you're waiting to hear from your lawyer and that you don't want to speak to them until you've discussed this with him or her. Then get a lawyer and protect your rights.

There isn't a criminal lawyer worth his or her license to practice law that won't tell you the same thing under these circumstances. You should not talk to the police unless you do so with a lawyer.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
What are the chances of them wanting to arrest me if I wasn't involved at all? I assume they are looking for the person involved and would like to get any information possible. The truth is I actually don't know anything.
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

In order to arrest you all they need is probable cause. Probable cause is just a reasonable belief that you may have been involved in this crime. That doesn't take much evidence, and you may accidentally hand them something.

Do not talk to the police without a lawyer

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 4 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.